Big Enough to Save the World?
Is it arrogant for Christians to say Jesus is the only way? Last week I met a sweet woman who was practically in tears as she insisted God would not exclude good people of other religions from going to heaven.
In the neighborhood group I attended that same evening, we studied Acts 4:12, a verse I memorized years ago referring to Jesus Christ: “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” How do we reconcile the gap between the exclusive claims of that verse and our experience in a world where “good” people practice a variety of religions?
The real problem is that we overestimate human capability and underestimate the salvation made possible through Jesus Christ.
We try to judge people based on what they do on the outside, but Jesus said we can’t. People do good works for various reasons as Jesus pointed out when he condemned the hypocrites who looked sanctimonious on the outside but merely desired acknowledgment on the inside (Matt 6:5,16).
I know I have been praised for doing “good” works at different times in my life without people realizing my dark, selfish motives.
We human beings are badly broken. None of us has the capacity to do what is right even if it appears so on the outside. In Romans 3:10 Paul says, “None is righteous, no, not one.” Most people—even Christians—don’t realize the extent of their brokenness.
Our world can’t accept the idea it is broken so it takes our distorted behavior (including the worship of false gods) and calls it normal, even good.
The woman who shed tears as she insisted on the inclusion of good people from all faiths in heaven could not possibly consider the alternative—because if these ones are not saved—than what about a “good” person like herself who isn’t walking according any faith.
She doesn’t grasp that Jesus came into our world because we don’t have the capacity to do good. His salvation is big enough to save the whole world. He alone is able to make all that is broken right through his selfless act of love.
The human predicament, though, is this: in order to receive this great salvation, humans must admit to their brokenness, but if they admit to their brokenness they no longer can call themselves good.